The Valencia Marathon put itself on the proverbial big time list with its 2018 results! The move of the marathon to December put some finely fit athletes into the mix and records abound. A Course record is one thing, but two course records PLUS a masters World record does impress.
Here is how Justin Lagat saw the race.
Fast times in Valencia marathon as Lydia Cheromei breaks the Masters’ world record
Valencia is quickly turning into a long distance running destination for breaking world records. After Joyciline Jepkosgei broke the women’s half marathon world record last year there, Abraham Kiptum went back to break the men’s world record again this year at the Valencia half marathon on the 28th October.
Slightly over a month later, Lydia Cheromei was again on the streets of Valencia running what was perhaps going to be the best race of her life.
At the half way point where she crossed in 69 minutes and 32 seconds, about a minute and half ahead of her next competitor, Cheromei was well on her way to registering an historic time.
The early fast pace might have cost Cheromei, as Ethiopia’s Ashete Dido began to slowly began to close the gap in the second half of the race. At the 37km, Dido and Cheromei were shoulder to shoulder but the latter could only watch, as Dido went past to win the race in 2:21:24, improving on her personal best time of 2:23:27 and setting a new course record. The previous course record was 2:24:48. Cheromei finished 2nd in 2:22:10, which was a new world record for over 40 years. Ethiopia’s Weldegebril completed the podium in 2:23:37.
Having made her first appearance at the world junior athletic championships in 1990, Cheromei now has over 28 years of running competitively at the highest level in her career. In 1991, she had already became a world champion after finishing first as a junior at the world cross country championships in Antwerp, Belgium.
The men’s race was also record-breaking in more than one way. Ten runners ran under 2:08 for the marathon. The winner, Leul Gebrselassie of Ethiopia ran 2:04:30 to record the fastest time ever ran in Valencia. Bahrain’s El Hassan El Abbassi came second in 2:04:43 while Mathew Kisorio of Kenya ran 2:04:53 to finish third.
From the 30km point, it was an interesting race in which Kisorio seemed to control it with surges that were aimed at reducing the pack and it was only Gebrselassie and El Abbassi who managed to stick behind Kisorio till the last stages of the race. At some point, El Abbassi was dropped and the battle for the title seemed to have remained between Kisorio and Gebrselassie.
However, with about two kilometers to go, Gebrsellassie who had looked quite comfortable behind Kisorio suddenly moved to the front for the first time and a gap began to grow. El Abbassi came back and overtook the tiring Kisorio in the last kilometer of the race.
Having been moved to December for the first time, the Valencia marathon was quite special this year. Any long distance runner keen on improving their personal best time should have their eyes on Valencia marathon, or the half marathon.